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Charlie Christie: Referees have to be shown much more respect after horrific scene at football match in Turkey

By Charlie Christie

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Charlie Christie was appalled by the scenes in Turkey.
Charlie Christie was appalled by the scenes in Turkey.

I couldn’t quite believe the football headlines I read on Tuesday which focussed on the disgraceful attack on Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler by KE Ankaragucu FC president Faruk Koca.

The attack which resulted in Meler sustaining significant injuries occurred in injury time during the bottom of the table Turkish Super Lig clash between Ankaragucu and Caykur Rizespor and has rightfully led to mass condemnation of the assault throughput the football world.

The pictures of the attack are horrific and has led to an indefinite suspension of all Super Lig matches and to the arrest of Faruk Koca who has a reputed net worth of over £500 million and who is also a politician in Turkey.

Koca immediately resigned his presidency of the football club and now awaits, along with several others, the outcome of the police investigation into the matter.

The spiralling aggression towards referees in football has been a topic for discussion for quite some time and this latest incident will only add to the argument that something needs to be done and done quickly to safeguard match officials at all levels.

In the English Premiership there has been an escalation in the surrounding of referees by players disputing decisions in an obvious act of aggression and this has made a very difficult job even more pressurised and sends the totally wrong message to those youngsters watching in the stands and on television.

During my playing career I had many moments when I disputed refereeing decisions and, on occasion, did not conduct myself in the proper manner and I regret each one of those.

I have since refereed matches and found out for myself just how difficult a job it is and football really needs to aspire to match the respect shown to officials in rugby and other team sports.

On a more positive note, the majority of the Tartan Army will now have scoured the internet and

organised their June trips to Munich, Cologne, and Stuttgart as the draw for the 2024 Euro was finally made.

The group itself could certainly have been harder and there is undoubted optimism that we can

achieve qualification to the knock-out stages for the first time in our history. But Germany, Hungary

and Switzerland will provide real challenges.

I cannot wait to be sitting in Munich’s Marienplatz enjoying a cold beer or two before the

opening game along with tens of thousands of other tartan clad Scottish football fanatics as we dream of what might be – it is the Scottish way after all!

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